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Q: Translating W. S. Burroughs into Latin ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Translating W. S. Burroughs into Latin
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: wesleyk-ga
List Price: $7.00
Posted: 14 Dec 2003 06:42 PST
Expires: 13 Jan 2004 06:42 PST
Question ID: 286991
What is the best approximation of "Language is a virus." in Latin? 
Rather than just translating sickness (as morbus, for example), I'd
like to emphasize contagiousness.
Subject: Re: Translating W. S. Burroughs into Latin
Answered By: hlabadie-ga on 14 Dec 2003 11:54 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Lingua virus est.
Lingua contagio est.

Virus is a perfectly good word in Latin, as is pestilentia, of course,
but as you wish to emphasize the contagious rather than the morbid
sense, then contagious itself is derived from Latin and seems natural.
The Latin word for contagion is contagio, contagionis.

Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary

Language is a contagion.

language = lingua, linguae
contagion = contagio, contagionis
is = sum, esse, fui, futurus (to be).

lingua, nominative, subject of the sentence.

lingua nom.
linguae gen.
linguae dat.
linguam acc.
lingua abl.

contagio, predicative nominative, in apposition to lingua.

contagio nom.
contagionis gen.
contagioni dat.
contagionem acc.
contagio abl.

est, third person present singular.

sum - I am
es - You are
est - He, She, It is

lingua contagio est.


Searched Perseus for contagion.

wesleyk-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Translating W. S. Burroughs into Latin
From: markj-ga on 14 Dec 2003 07:25 PST
I have forgotten essentially all of my high-school level Latin
grammar, so I don't trust my judgment on suggesting the right sentence
for you, but my dusty Cassell's New Latin Dictionary says that several
authors (Caesar, Cicero and Livy) conveyed the meaning of "plague,
infectious disease" with the phrase "pestilenti? conflictati."
Subject: Re: Translating W. S. Burroughs into Latin
From: hlabadie-ga on 14 Dec 2003 16:09 PST
Thanks for the favorable rating.

Subject: Re: Translating W. S. Burroughs into Latin
From: wesleyk-ga on 14 Dec 2003 20:46 PST
No, no, no... thank you for the help!

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